CEC: Eraring extension speculation will scare off investors

Aerial photo of Eraring Power Station on a sunny day (speculation)
Eraring Power Station (Image: Shutterstock)

Speculation of a deal to extend the life of our largest coal-fired power station risks discouraging clean energy investors from developing Australian projects, the Clean Energy Council has warned.

A set of recommendations to the NSW Government reportedly advises engagement with the owners of the Eraring Power Station to strike a deal to use taxpayer funds to extend its service life.

Related article: AGL to keep Loy Yang A running until mid-2035

Speculation has increased after AGL announced it would extend the closure of Loy Yang A power station by five years after striking a deal with the Victorian Government.

Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said uncertainty about the closure of coal-fired generation had a chilling effect on investment in new clean energy essential to replacing ageing coal-fired power stations and driving down power prices.

“While investors are looking for governments to provide more certainty about the timing of coal closures, any extension of the life of these generators would create even more uncertainty and risk, undermining confidence to invest in much-needed clean energy projects,” Thornton said.

“It means we miss out on the jobs and opportunities, and our transition to affordable and sustainable power is slowed. This has economy-wide impacts that will be felt for a long time.

“We know the NSW Government will always work in the interests of energy users across the state, and their vision is firmly focused on the transition to a clean energy future,” he said.

“However, any extension of coal-fired power stations dilutes investor confidence, and can have unintended, long-term impacts on generation and supply.

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“In the energy market no action occurs in isolation. To judge any measure, you need to assess all of the implications, and this has wide ramifications.”

The Clean Energy Council’s latest Renewable Projects Quarterly Report indicates that investment in battery storage projects is at record levels, but investment in renewable generation continues to lag behind renewable energy and emissions reductions targets.

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